Recycled Carpet Helps Preserve Endangered Species ~ GeoHay erosion-control products come to the aid of rare darter fishAt CRI, we often speak and write about the advantages of carpet. Here’s a new one - cows won’t eat it. It’s true. I saw that theory put to the test this past week at the Petty Farm just outside of Dalton, GA, while involved in a project to help preserve the rare darter fish... using recycled carpet!
To give you the details: in the fall of 2010, a diverse group of participants which included the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), the Conasauga River Alliance, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and a company called GeoHay came together to restore a unique aquatic environment to its natural state. The project took place at Colvard Springs, which is located not too far from the Carpet and Rug Institute headquarters and just outside Dalton, Georgia. This beautiful setting is home to a rather unique fish, the Cold Water Darter. There are only 22 known habitats for this rare species and all are located in the tri-state area of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Essential to the project was GeoHay’s donation of multiple GeoHay silt-filtering devices. According to GeoHay President Tim Stillwell, GeoHay is an erosion-control barrier made entirely from recycled carpet fibers. GeoHay uses about a million pounds of old carpet each year to manufacture GeoHay – and that’s a million pounds that aren’t on their way to landfills!
Extensive testing has shown that GeoHay is far superior to hay or other natural erosion barriers. Besides its landfill-diversion benefits, GeoHay is reusable, long-lasting, and won’t carry seeds from non-native plant species from one natural environment to another.
Silt and water from the spring were pumped through a culvert from the Badger Farm to an open pasture on the Petty Farm. To keep the silt from simply running back down to the creek and then to the Conasauga River, GeoHay was used to filter the water before it returned to the watershed.
At a public event held at Colvard Springs to discuss the conservation project, Georgia State Senator-elect Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton) said, “These are the sorts of technologies we’re all going to have to be more comfortable with. Water quality is important to all of us, whether we’re a darter or we drink from a municipal or private well.”
At one point during the ceremonies, a young Angus heifer approached the bale of GeoHay, no doubt thinking she was in for a tasty treat. A tentative sniff and lick were enough to convince her that this bale was not for lunch! Yet another example of the benefits of carpet…
Here's a link to the Chattanooga Times Free Press article titled Darter housecleaning gets help from carpet recycler.